9.14.2006

Mohammed Ascends to Heaven from Jerusalem

To the left Mohammed, with a flame halo, is shown still alive, in the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem (he died in 632); to the right he Ascends to Heaven. In the first image his features are shown unveiled; in the second he wears a thin veil, through which one can see his features.

Punjab, 1686; British Library.

The Mosque is the third holiest site of Islam, and one of the oldest mosques - it was built 687 to 691. On the spot of the temple of Solomon, the mosque was briefly an Augustinian church during the Crusades, but has otherwise remained a mosque since its inception. The architecture is still quite Byzantine in style - Islamic architecture had not yet developed - using Byzantine craftsmen to decorate it. The octagonal form tended to be used for a Baptistery or a Martyrium.

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